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Schizopolis - Criterion Collection
Schizopolis - Criterion Collection
Actors: Scott Allen (II), Betsy Brantley, Silas Cooper, C.C. Courtney, Ann Dalrymple
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2003     1hr 36min

Fletcher Munson has a doppelgänger in dentist Dr. Jeffrey Korchek. In his only starring performance to date, acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Ocean?s Eleven) inhabits both roles: Munson, onan...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Scott Allen (II), Betsy Brantley, Silas Cooper, C.C. Courtney, Ann Dalrymple
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 10/28/2003
Original Release Date: 04/09/1997
Theatrical Release Date: 04/09/1997
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 19
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Viewing Prerequisites: A Working Knowledge Of Japanese And D
Robert I. Hedges | 06/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is far and away the most unique and original movie I have ever seen. There is no close second place. Steven Soderbergh wrote, starred in, and directed this little-known masterpiece, and I am now a loyal fan. The caution on the box perhaps best summarizes the film: "Warning: All attempts at synopsizing the film have ended in failure and hospitalization." This is truth in advertising if I have ever seen it. Think of "Schizopolis" as a narcissistic, paranoid blend of equal parts "Head," "1984," "Monty Python's Flying Circus," and "Unarius."

The film is absolutely impossible to categorize. It occurs in three principal acts, but they are all circular and the plots entangle themselves in the end in an almost Seinfeldesque manner. Steven Soderbergh stars as both Fletcher Munson and Dr. Jeffrey Korchek. Munson is a curiously self-absorbed speechwriter for New Age guru (and founder of "Eventualism") T. Azimuth Schwitters, while Korchek, a dentist with a Muzak fixation dominates act two by having an affair with Munson's disenchanted wife from act one. Throughout all this, local exterminator (and celebrity) Elmo Oxygen uses very unconventional pillow talk to seduce housewives while plotting against Schwitters. Eddie Jemison, noteworthy as "Nameless Numberhead Man," is the perfect comic foil for Munson.

Although you will need to watch this movie several times to even scratch the surface of the nuances it contains, several themes are apparent, most notably the satirical approach to contemporary society which is infused throughout the film in many ways, most notably in the dialogue. When Munson greets his wife after work he says "Generic greeting," to which she replies "Generic greeting returned." Later in the film several other dialogue issues occur with Soderbergh's characters speaking in Japanese, French, and Italian seemingly at random and to great comic effect.

From the outset, this film is highly segmented (much like an episode of "Monty Python's Flying Circus") and confrontational. There is even an explicit warning in the beginning which says "If you don't understand this film, it's your fault and not ours." This type of in-your-face humor is very uncommon and I simply loved it. The film is extremely difficult to follow if you are approaching it like a conventional movie with a well developed plot and characters, but if you can deal with the exceptional stream-of-consciousness, non sequitur humor that Soderbergh uses here, "Schizopolis" will become one of your favorites, too.

I highly recommend this film."
Truly Original. I Loved It
Daniel Read | Atlanta, GA USA | 07/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This movie is just plain bizarre, but Soderberg has this knack of making the totally bizarre work for the movie rather than against it. In other words, this movie was for me absolutely watchable and enjoyable despite the fact that Soderberg is constantly testing the patience of the viewer. It has a John Waters quality in that regard. Soderberg achieved the same thing with the unconventional "The Limey", although "The Limey" is nowhere near as strange as "Schizopolis".Besides all the laughs and strange stuff that left my mouth hanging open, I really enjoyed the way that this movie just barely tells a story. There _is_ a story buried in all the strange sequences (I won't even bother trying to describe these sequences), but it's just that: buried. The story is only revealed through glimpses, just enough to keep you watching. As I see more and more of his movies, I become more and more of a Soderberg fan. I really liked "Sex, Lies, and Videotape", but did not really keep up with Soderberg after that. I've been going back and catching up and having a blast. I was especially impressed with his acting ability in this movie. (I saw an interview with Soderberg in which he says that he starred in this movie because he could not find anybody else to do some of the strange things he does.) Be sure and check out "Schizopolis"."
Bizarre Offbeat Comedy Satire Confusing - See It Again!
Jed Shlackman | Miami, FL United States | 09/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a low budget film from Steven Soderbergh that uses ingenuity and absurdity and lots of clever satire to keep the viewer off balance and coming back to see the film again to try and "get it." Soderbergh is the writer, director, and lead actor in the film. He plays an office worker who gets called on to write a speech for a self-help guru who is the figurehead of a philosophy called "Eventualism." He also plays (in act 2 of the movie) a libidinous dentist who is having an affair with the wife of the character he plays in act 1. Meanwhile, a deranged guy with a pest control suit and car is staging some daring videos involving acts of sex and violence - and he aims to film his attempt to kill the self help guru in act 3. In act 3 the Soderbergh character is often filmed speaking in foreign languages while other characters speak English and respond as if there's nothing unusual about the foreign speech (French & Italian may come in handy here!). Soderbergh introduces the film in a short sequence at the beginning and at the end he answers questions from a supposed theater audience - except you don't hear the questions. There are a variety of bizarre sequences and non-sequiturs in the film, and it's hard to figure out what the point of it all is.
Then, on the DVD Soderbergh interviews himself in a very amusing satirical "director's commentary" where he speaks as a pretentious, narcissistic "artist" who sees himself at the center of the social and cultural universe. Which may be the point of the characters in the film itself... and even the little news clip interruption where the news show announces some common lady from New Mexico has been appointed to make all decisions and judgments about things in America. So you could say its a scattered comedy tied together by themes of schizophrenia and narcissism. You may either love it or hate it depending upon your view, as you are the center of your own field of perception."
BobsRevenge | 09/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm still not sure what I think about this movie from a purely critical standpoint, but I respect it immensely. I have watched it more times than I care to admit, but in a way it has pulled off. This movie makes you think, and with each viewing you shave off another layer of confusion. I'm still confused about many things, but I can't find any review here that actually understands many aspects of what this movie is. It is a satire that shoots in all directions at all angles. There is satire on small things and large things, and often both in the same scene. For instance, Elmo's character symbolizes the media. Watch the progression of his character and his actions and the effects of them and keep in mind that the assasination attempt at the end is filmed. Look at the little news segments and look for the satire within them. Everything has a place in this movie, and I do find it entertaining to find out what they mean. You can't watch this movie expecting entertainment in the form that is presented in a regular movie. The entertainment here comes from the solving of the puzzle, and finding the reason for the happenings. Rewatch the movie and think of it as a sort of four dimensional jigsaw *snicker* puzzle that ruthlessly assaults all things ingenuine and confusing, whether they be personal or empirical, in this world we live in. Also, once you watch the movie with an understanding of the story revolving around Munster's wife you will find it is actually quite affecting. There is much much more to this story than first meets the eye, especially when you look at the doppelganger thing as not literal and the... mind takeover thingy (I don't know the words for it, but if you have watched the movie you know what I'm talking about)... as a surreal element to progress the story in an unconventional way. Also try to keep track of the space of time these scenes take place really closely.

All closed minded people should steer clear of this movie; you won't find your satisfaction in it. You will probably end up looking in the wrong places. If you don't think you'll enjoy spending time analyzing the various, multi-dimensional, and plentiful intelligent nuggets of satire then please, also stay away because you will find nothing of interest."